Also called the sea cow, the manatee is the only herbivorous mammal specially designed to live its entire life in the water. The Florida manatee is at home in saltwater, as well as fresh water, but needs access to fresh water frequently. Its forelimbs are reduced to simple paddles for swimming yet are flexible enough to bring food to its mouth. The tail pumps up and down to propel the body. Though it is streamlined in shape to reduce water resistance, the manatee is a slow swimmer, averaging a speed of about three to five miles per hour.
Check the Animal Encounter schedule to see when you can interact with a manatee keeper.
How can you tell apart Betsy and Woodstock, our manatees? Easy! Betsy is more than twice as big as Woodstock.